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updated: 1/29/2012 1:52 PM

District 28 Senate candidates spar over party loyalty

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  • Senate District 28 candidates Jim O' Donnell and Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski talk at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.

       Senate District 28 candidates Jim O' Donnell and Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski talk at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Senate District 28 candidate Jim O' Donnell speaks and answers questions at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.

       Senate District 28 candidate Jim O' Donnell speaks and answers questions at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Dan Patlak, an incumbent on the Cook County Board of Review, waits his turn to speak to the overflow crowd at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.

       Dan Patlak, an incumbent on the Cook County Board of Review, waits his turn to speak to the overflow crowd at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski and Jim O' Donnell talk at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.

       Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski and Jim O' Donnell talk at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Senate District 28 candidate Jim O' Donnell speaks and answers questions at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.

       Senate District 28 candidate Jim O' Donnell speaks and answers questions at the Schaumburg Township Republican Convention on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

No one came right out and said Jim O'Donnell wasn't a true-red Republican, but it was implied Saturday at the Schaumburg Township Republican Organization convention.

"I believe I am the only true Republican running for this office. I have never contributed to a Democratic campaign with money or votes," said his opponent in the 28th state Senate primary, Roselle village President Gayle Smolinski, while introducing herself.

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And during the q-and-a session, a member of the audience asked O'Donnell how many times he had voted for Democrats in the last four primaries.

O'Donnell didn't answer that question, saying he suspected the asker already knew the answer. But he said he is pro-business and fiscally conservative. He said before running, he had been "vetted" by the state Senate Republicans. "If you want some verification, contact (state Senator) John Milner, (state Senator) Matt Murphy, Senator Dan Duffy. They will vouch for my validity," O'Donnell said.

The Cook County elections office and the DuPage County Election Commission office are not open on Saturday, so official confirmation of what political party's ballots O'Donnell and Smolinski have pulled could not be obtained.

O'Donnell said that, if he wins the primary and the general election, the first thing he intends to do "is introduce legislation to repeal the Michael Madigan-Dan Kotowski (income) tax increase." Kotowski is the Democrat seeking re-election in the 28th District.

"And right after I've done that, I intend to introduce term limitations on legislators."

Smolinski, however, said the tax repeal wouldn't be her first move. Doing so would be useless if Democrats retain control of the Senate, she said, because "five minutes after it is filed (Senate President) John Cullerton will put a brick on it and it will never see the light of day." If the Republicans win control, senior leadership will introduce the bill, she said, and she will support it.

Smolinski won the organization's endorsement.

The group also endorsed Cary Collins for the 22nd Senate seat. There is no Republican candidate in the primary, but the Republican committeemen in the district have agreed to slate him in the general election, said Ryan Higgins, the Schaumburg Township Republican Organization committeeman.

The 28th Senate District includes all or parts of Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Schaumburg, Streamwood, Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park and Roselle.

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